Wednesday, May 18, 2016

so this happened.

This is Leela. We adopted her from Pets In Need on Monday night. She's supposedly 2 years old, she's definitely 13 pounds, and she looks like either a Beagle or a Jack Russell Terrier, depending on the angle. (If you get to hear her mournful wailing of sadness, it is clear she is part Beagle.)

We've been talking about this for months, and I've met some dogs, but finding Leela herself was rather sudden, so we're a bit overwhelmed today. While she is not not-mellow, exactly, she does turn out to have more energy than she displayed in the shelter, and no well-established toy or chewing habits, which wasn't one thing or another until she chewed through the cable (luckily not the 120VAC side) of Anna's MacBook Pro power supply. So she can't be unsupervised even in the dining room/living room area that we've gated off from the bathrooms: she clearly gets bored, but she also doesn't like to play, and there's no great signal that she's bored. Maybe we get a Pack 'n Play for dogs and confine her to a smaller area when we need to. It's a little stressful right now.

She was clearly abused at some point: she often shrinks from me putting her harness on or picking her up (which has to happen all the time because she won't jump in or out of the car right now), and she'll shrink from anyone who looms over her too closely. Last night she was growling whenever the stereo played something too much like talking; tonight we were watching the first-ever episode of Doctor Who, and she got rock-stiff and growled and barked, and could barely be induced not to. The 3 of us here know something about being wounded and being triggered, so we have a lot of empathy for her. We trust she will have empathy for us, once we're all less focused on freaking out.

This is all new to me. I knew my parents' dog, but really I got to know him after Mom had socialized him properly, got him to stop jumping on people, got him to respond to his name if he felt like it. Before I can train Leela in basic-sounding things like "sit," I have to teach her her name, because a dog can't listen to you if you don't get her attention first. Luckily we started obedience classes last night, and the instructor covered it (besides Leela, a couple of the 5-month olds were none too responsive to their names either). Leela is beyond food-motivated, so we worked on it at the park today, and eventually she got it pretty well. At home I built on that and mostly taught her "down" as applied to putting her front legs on the couch. She wasn't even crabby that I don't give her a treat when I call her name. (She may not remember, exactly? Doggy brains are not like our brains.)

Anyway. Lots of stuff like that. It's a shock to the system.

Though it is certainly the fuzziest, snuggliest shock to the system I've ever had.

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